I touched on a category of films in July's Rave that begs for closer examination. I mentioned that I enjoy watching the 1958, B level classic, "The Blob". I classified the movie as a "guilty pleasure", a term made popular almost thirty years ago by renowned film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on their weekly movie review program, "Sneak Previews".
Guilty pleasures are the movies or shows which lack most or all of the qualities normally associated with the generally accepted "great" movies and television such as "Citizen Kane", "Casablanca" and "The Sopranos", such as good writing, good directing, good acting or, as in most cases, a good budget. In fact, a guilty pleasure should be as far removed from an Oscar or Emmy nomination as I am from life. Yet something exists in these celluloid frames and electronic flickers that connects vividly with one's brain that is hard to explain.
I have professed my love for nearly all things Godzilla in the past. Granted, the original film from 1956 is a classic and worthy of more praise than I can give and most critics agree. However, "Godzilla vs. King Kong"? A very, very bad movie that I can't help but watch whenever I find it running on TV. Just the thought of watching the great leaping lizard wrestle the giant monkey man is enough to make me smile.
The time has come for me to openly embrace my love for the Saturday morning creations of Sid & Marty Krofft. Overacted, psychedelic and sometimes just plain strange, the shows that the Krofft brothers produced from 1968 to 1978, include "Land of the Lost", "The Bugaloos", "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters", "Lidsville", "H. R. Pufnstuf" and the granddaddy of them all, "The Banana Splits Adventure Hour". The Krofft's productions frequently featured music that made parents run, screaming, from their houses and made children sing endlessly. The theme songs are still remembered and still bring back cherished memories for me, while most adults still run screaming. "Tra-la-laa. Tra-la-la-laa. Tra-la-la, La-laa-la-laa-laaa "
Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun-Fat, I could go on all night. Find as much of their early work as you can. Almost all are gems. "Drunken Master", "Fists of Fury", "Once Upon a Time in China", "Heroic Trio", and "Hard Boiled Killers", make up a perfect weekend of movies, with more flying kicks, impossible jumps and badly dubbed voices than legally permitted.
And how about those "Police Academy" movies?
No, even I can't defend those.
What are some of your guilty pleasures? Chucky? Flash Gordon? Teletubbies? E-mail me below with some of your guiltiest and the reasons why you like them despite popular disdain. I will post the best answers here in the coming months.
I was recently reminded that not all of the movies I enjoy are considered "good" by the general public. Take, for instance, "The Blob", a movie about a space creature which comes down to earth in 1958, eats a small town and terrorizes the world's oldest teenager, Steve(n) McQueen.
Sounds good to me.
Why then is "The Blob" only appreciated by a small segment of the general population? Why doesn't "The Blob" appear at the top of critics' best movies of all time? Why didn't "The Blob" make millions of dollars for the studio, the producers and the actors?
Maybe it's because "The Blob" isn't all that well produced or acted. Maybe it's because of the ridiculous looking titular monster. Maybe it's because there was very little money available in the budget. I am going to go with all of the above. All of which are precisely the same reasons why I think "The Blob" is one of my most enjoyable movie experiences.
It probably doesn't hurt that I join a few hundred rowdy Blob-Heads every year in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, the Blob's home town, for the annual Blob-Fest celebration. People come from all over the Philadelphia region and beyond to view "The Blob" in the very same movie theater in which several integral scenes were filmed 50 years ago, The Colonial Theater. Many friends and family of the original production crew join the festivities each year at this recently restored, vaudeville era theater.
Blob-Fest begins each year on an early Friday evening in mid July with a recreation of the famous "running-out-of-the-theater" scene. Yes, the entire crowd of celebrants gathers inside of the Colonial just so that they can all run straight out of it again. Of course, I don't "run" so much as "amble in a stately manner", but you get the idea.
Saturday begins early as the entire street in front of the Colonial is shut down to automobile traffic and turned into a glorious block party. Vintage cars, live music, deep fried food, Italian ice, even a costume contest in which Kuzibah and I are help in judging. All of this and more.
And what would Blob-Fest be without the afternoon showing of "The Blob" itself? The crowd joins in and becomes part of the movie, sometimes singing along with the theme song and occasionally yelling things back at the screen. It is an event that cannot be described adequately, even by one as talkative as I. Blob-Fest must be experienced first hand.
"The Blob" may not be one of the best made films of all time, but Blob-Fest makes it one of the most enjoyable. Let's see what remains of "Transformers" in 50 years.
As luck would have it, we are coming up quickly on mid July, and that means that Blob-Fest is only a few days away. I am probably beginning to sound like an advertisement, but I assure you that I am not selling out. Come see Kuzibah and myself at Blob-Fest on Friday, July 13th and Saturday, July 14th, at the beautiful Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. And don't forget to bring your fire extinguisher!
This past month of April, 2007 brought us to the end of yet another movie legend's life: the man responsible for directing the third funniest film in movie history, (#2 Airplane, #1 Young Frankenstein), the man who invented not one, but two genres of film that include some of the most lucrative films being made today; the same man who won two "Worst Director" Razzie nominations for movies that were released more than twenty years apart. This man would have had a place carved out in my un-beating heart for only one of these honorable achievements.
Rest in Peace, Bob Clark.
In 1983 I was one of the three people in the entire country to see A Christmas Story in the theaters. At least it seemed that way. I fell in love with the story from the moment Ralphie Parker's mom asked him the first time, "What do you want for Christmas, Ralphie?" Thanks to Turner Broadcasting and the now annual 24-hour marathon from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day, nearly everybody in the country is now able to quote long sections of dialog from this nearly perfect movie. And we all know what Ralphie wanted for Christmas, don't we?
More than ten years before everybody rediscovered the joys of the Red Ryder BB gun, a little film called Black Christmas became the blueprint for the modern slasher movie. Freddy, Jason, Michael, Scream The list goes on. None of them would have existed without Bob Clark serving up the first "He's calling from inside the house!" movie.
Flashing forward again to the summer before A Christmas Story, we were treated to the other genre of Bob Clark's making, the teen, sex-comedy. Without Porky's we would not have been able to hear, "And one time, when I was at band camp " Take Black Christmas and Porky's together and you get Scary Movie, its sequels.
Two years after Porky's, Mr. Clark entered another field of horror all together and fed the movie-going public a singing Sylvester Stallone (with Dolly Parton) in Rhinestone, the first of the films for which he received a Razzie nomination as worst director. Still more horror was handed to an unsuspecting family audience, when 2004 saw the release of SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2, the other picture for which he won a worst directing Razzie nomination.
On April 4th, Bob Clark and his 22 year old son were killed in a traffic accident when an unlicensed, drunk driver crossed over into opposing traffic and collided, head-on with their car.
Do yourself a favor; go rent any of the movies in the Clark pantheon. Some are classics, some are not, but they are all legendary.
Once there was a man named Don Dohler who liked to make frightening movies. But he liked to make his movies without a big studio and without a big budget. He made movies to be entertaining and he made them his way.
Don's Directing credits include The Alien Factor (1978), Fiend (1980), Nightbeast (1982), The Galaxy Invader (1985), Blood Massacre (1991), Harvesters (2001) and Alien Factor 2: The Alien Rampage (2001). He also produced many of the above features in addition to Stakes (2002), Crawler (2004) and Vampire Sisters (2004). As the reader can tell by the titles, Don's movies weren't in the mainstream or made to everybody's tastes. But for the aficionado of low budget horror, these were all gems that sparkled above the likes of films with 5,000 or 10,000 times the budget.
Don didn't start out making movies, but he did always have a flare for the visual media and while in high school he created the underground comic "Pro Junior". The character was eventually brought back in the early 70's by such comic legends as R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman. In 1972 Don created Cinemagic magazine, which he sold to Starlog at the end of the decade and whose contributors included Rick Baker and Ben Burtt, two of Hollywood's most highly sought after and respected technicians. He also published Amazing Cinema and Movie Club magazines. Don continued to write magazine articles and books on special effects and film and finally entered the field of movie writing, direction, production and editing with The Alien Factor.
From personal experience on the set of the last movie Don made, the soon to be released, Dead Hunt, he was a gentle and persuasive man. He was soft spoken but never needed to raise his voice to get things done. The cast and crew wanted to make Don happy and it shows in the final film. Blood flows freely and flesh is cut, ripped and fried, all without apparent effort, though I can tell you there was a lot of effort and love involved. The man knew his craft and we all learned more than a few things about making movies from him over the time the cast and crew worked together.
Don never lost his love of publishing and was the Managing Editor of the Baltimore Times-Herald at the time of his death on December 2nd, last year.
Don is missed by his wife and sister. He is missed by his co-workers and his team of movie makers. Don is missed by his friends and his fans. He is missed by all of us who knew him, however briefly.
We will never see another Don Dohler movie after Dead Hunt while here on the Earth, but I can state for a fact that the movies out here in the afterlife are a lot more entertaining and frightening than they used to be.
Thank you, Don.
What I want for Christmas
By: The Grim Reaper
Three magic words will make me happy this holiday season. Three words are all it will take. Three words to make everything right with the world.
"But, Grim," you ask, "what could those words be? What could make you so happy, so easily? What on earth is that perfect?"
The answer: Tickle Me Elmo.
I hear you mind shrieking, "What?! You can't be serious, Grim! How can you be so taken by the wrong spiritedness of the season? How can YOU be swept up into the whirlwind of greed and consumerism that has blighted this chaos of a world in which we now live? You CAN'T be serious!"
Well, I am. And if you will quiet down for just a moment and let me explain, maybe, just maybe, you will want Tickle Me Elmo also.
You have already admitted that you are disappointed in how the holiday season has been warped into a materialistic bacchanal of advertising and profits. You hate what the holidays have come to mean. The pressure of buying this, that and the other something for your great-aunt, Tilley, who lives across the country and whom you've never met, just makes you want to dump a barrel of eggnog on Santa's helpers at the mall.
Don't deny it; I heard you, remember? Well, maybe not the eggnog part, but you wouldn't be surprised to find out about somebody who's done it, would you?
Now think about what it takes to bring Tickle Me Elmo into existence. It takes desire. Desire to make somebody else happy. Desire to see a child smile. Desire to hear laughter and watch Uncle Robert at the family open house pull out this wonderful toy and say, "Hey, have you seen this? You gotta see this!" Without desire the reason for the toy does not exist. Desire is the driving force.
Cooperation is the next ingredient to a successful Tickle Me Elmo. The inventor has to have cooperation from the licensor. The licensor has to have cooperation from the manufacturer. The manufacturer has to have cooperation from the distributor. And the distributor has to have cooperation from the retailers. If any of these links is broken, if just one person doesn't cooperate with the next, Tickle Me Elmo won't be under somebody's tree. The world will be just a little bit less happy. Cooperation is essential.
The final ingredient is work. The idea has to be brought to reality and that doesn't happen by itself. The design must be created. The parts must be made. The creature must be built. The toy must be delivered to the store, stocked for sale and once home, wrapped as a gift. Without work, Tickle Me Elmo remains only an idea. Without work Elmo dies.
Desire, cooperation and work.
Imagine what else can be accomplished with those three items.
Do you want to help the homeless in your area? Find or start a soup kitchen and feed a few people. Desire, cooperation and work.
Do you want to reduce pollution? Walk a few blocks instead of driving, plant a few trees and ask the Post Office to stop delivering you the junk mail you don't want or even look at. Desire, cooperation and work.
Do you want to bring a little peace to the world? Call your brother or sister with whom you stopped talking because one of you insulted the other. Apologize, even if you "know" it's not your fault. Extend a hand in friendship. Desire, cooperation and work.
When you look at Tickle Me Elmo and hear about the horrors of shopping this month, look past the obvious, materialistic, consumeristic sludge. Look at what it took to accomplish the little guy.
Desire, cooperation and work. Three words.
I wish you your own Tickle Me Elmo.
The most wonderful and blessed month. The antidote to the hustle and thrills of October. The time after Halloween and the time before the end-of-the-year holidays.
AKA, the month I get to rest!
In celebration of our survival of another Halloween season, here are some suggestions for your home viewing pleasure that may invoke the happy times that go with being able to close ones eyes for a few hours of sleep.
I show the list price of these movies, but with a bit of searching on the web you will be able to find most of them for much less. The ratings are an estimate only and are based on the ranking of 1 5 Skulls. Enjoy!
|Doctor Sleep (AKA, Close Your Eyes) (2002)||
|Ill Sleep When Im Dead (2003)||
|The Big Sleep (1946)||
|The Big Sleep (1978)||
|Beyond the Wall of Sleep (2004)||
|Dead Sleep (1990)||
|Gothic Movie: Good Girls Dont Sleep in Coffins (2003)||
|Sleepy Hollow (1999)||
|The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1958 34 min)||
|Sleepy Hollow High (2000)||
|Rest Stop (2006)||
Some other honorable mentions which are not
currently available as new but may be found in your video store
or Netflix include the following.
|Chasing Sleep (2000)||
|To Sleep With A Vampire (1993)||
|Dont Sleep Alone (1997)||
And look for the following in your friends Stolen Taped from TV collections.
|Dont Go To Sleep (1982)|
|Sleep, Baby, Sleep (1995)|
|Mother, May I Sleep With Danger (1996) [I would never have heard the end of it from our friends at the West Coast Review if I hadnt added this gem.]|
If none of these puts you in the right frame of mind for a good nights sleep, I have some other remedies, but they work over a much longer period of time
For the merry month of October, I thought I would find a good monster movie that I could share my views of with you. I plied all of the new releases at the google-plexes and sorted my way through the DVD bins at Wal-Mart of Purgatory, but I couldn't find a good one. Instead, I found a GREAT one. The ultimate monster. The King of the Monsters.
Now, before you go laugh in my face (dangerous at best) and leave to take in the matinee showing of the American re-make of The Grudge VIII, hear me out.
Many of us grew up with the umpteenth-in-the-series giant-monster movies of the 60's and 70's. Sadly, by that time, Godzilla was made a part of these quick, cheap and demeaning celluloid crimes. Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966), Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965), Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster (1971), Godzilla vs. King Kong (fer cryin' out loud - 1962) And don't get me started on Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) in which our hero(?) joins up with Jet Jaguar, another guy in a giant-robot suit, to tag-team Gigan and Megalon into submission. I am not kidding. Godzilla actually "slaps five" with his partner.
Let us go back a bit to 1954. A mere decade since two atomic bombs have been dropped on Japan. A monster created from nuclear fallout is serious business. Scenes included in the original Godzilla show hospitals overflowing into the streets with wounded. The images are taken directly from the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Another scene shows a mother helplessly and uselessly protecting her two children from the smoke and flames raining down upon her. She cries to her children, "It won't be long now. We will be with your father soon."
Godzilla rampages through Tokyo, yes. But it is the first time this had ever been done and as such carries a power and emotion that enabled Japan (and the U.S.) to make and re-make Godzilla dozens of times.
Known as Gojira in Japan the movie was released two years later in the U.S. with icon Raymond Burr added in many new scenes in an attempt to make the film a little more palatable and understandable to American audiences. Scenes were moved around, spliced, cut and reworked to death with the result that much of the power and wonder of the story is lost and even the ultimate moral of the story changed.
Fortunately, a new 2 disc set of both Gojira and Godzilla has just been released. You can watch for yourself and see which ending you like better. Watch them back to back, the Raymond Burr version 2nd. They are different enough that you will be entertained for the whole afternoon or evening. Extras include the origin of Godzilla from the desire to make a giant-monster movie in the mold of King Kong, the building of the first Godzilla suit and, of course, the original Japanese trailer. The set can be found in some places for under $20 and is recommended by The Reaper himself.
This is not your father's Godzilla.
It's your Grandfather's Godzilla
And it's great!
Im not holding out much hope for The
Covenant, the remake of The Wicker Man or Jackass:
Number Two at this moment.
Be careful what you wish for.
We are all familiar with the proverbial warning.
How does it apply to our world recently?
Let me recount ten circumstances for you.
What we wished for: Another Superman movie.
What we REALLY wanted: Another Superman movie with Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman.
What we wished for: Pixars Cars
to rock the box office.
What we REALLY wanted: Pixars Cars to rock the box office enough to make the world forget about Shark Tale.
What we wished for: The Pirates of the
What we REALLY wanted: The Pirates of the Caribbean sequel with a self contained story that doesnt require waiting another year for the rest of the story.
What we wished for: Phoenix to show up in an
What we REALLY wanted: Phoenix to show up in an X-Men movie that has an intelligible script, decent directing and characters that remain true to the first two installments.
What we wished for: A weekend away at the shore.
What we REALLY wanted: A weekend away at the shore without the rain and high tide to the top of the steering wheel of the car.
What we wished for: M. Nights next movie.
What we REALLY wanted: M. Nights next movie like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs.
What we wished for: The Omen release
What we REALLY wanted: The Omen release from 06/06/76.
What we wished for: The Silent Hill
What we REALLY wanted: The Silent Hill video game.
What we wished for: The Descent
What we REALLY wanted: Actually The Descent. Go see it.
What we wished for: A thoughtful, careful and
informative movie about 9/11 like Flight 93.
What we REALLY wanted: To be able to forget it ever happened.
Were you scared? Did it really scare you? Yes?
No it didn't. It frightened you.
Let me explain the difference.
A woman who sees a mouse and jumps on a chair, screaming her head off is frightened. Is the mouse going to hurt her? I doubt it. She was frightened 100 years ago. She is frightened today. She will still be frightened 100 years from now. A woman who sees a wolf, slavering and stalking outside her screen door is scared. Is the wolf going to hurt her? Quite possibly.
A group of rowdy teenagers that goes into the local "Haunted House" may seem to be scared by the casual observer and may in fact claim to have been scared (or deny it categorically in the case of most 12-21 year old males) after leaving. I claim that they are in fact frightened (especially the 12-21 year old males) and not scared. Is the poorly made up, chainsaw wielding maniac in the White Stripes t-shirt going to kill them? Of course not. Did he jump out at them? Yes. But dismember them in a horrible fashion? No. If a real "Leatherface" with a real and bloodied chainsaw appears in front of the same group's car on the way home, they will be scared because they may really be brutally murdered.
The difference is distinct and can be subtle, but it is undeniable. Our bodies are equipped with the most up-to-date and state-of-the-art danger-mitigation-system available. It's called adrenaline: it makes one temporarily stronger and raises the body's pain threshold. A fright will make somebody jump and feel the familiar butterflies in the stomach for a short period. A genuine scare will keep those butterflies going for as long as is needed to escape or defeat the danger, sometimes long after.
People will pay a good deal of money to experience that local Haunted House in October ($20 per body, $8.50 for parking and $2 for a candy bar) or the latest and bloodiest horror film at the movie theater ($11 a ticket and $7.50 for a vat of popcorn) because people like to be frightened, and the producers of these attractions and movies know it and capitalize on it. The job of the producers and directors is to extend the adrenaline reaction over a longer and longer period so that it more closely resembles the body's response to an actual life-threatening situation. A scare.
Some of the creators miss the point and simply pile on more and more blood and viscera. All that this accomplishes is to desensitize much of the audience to the images and require bloodier and more disgusting images down the road. So what? Don't pile on more blood. Make me think it's going to be MY blood next. Don't show me a half-eaten spleen on a plate in a refrigerator. Prove to me that a hungry cannibal is in my group. Brains are just brains. We've all seen it before. Are they the smashed brains of my mother or sister? Uh oh
The point is that a fright is merely fleeting. A scare lasts much longer and hits closer to home. Think about it the next time you get into that hay wagon on Halloween. Did you feel that sensation going down the back of your neck? Did you have to have the lights on outside your bedroom all night so that the ghosts have nowhere to hide? How about that movie? Are you looking over your shoulder for the monster in the parking lot? Did you call home when you left the theater to have your parents wait up for you because an unknown something is going to rip you apart outside your house?
You were scared.
Once upon a time there was a little girl who above all else worshipped her hero, a multi- award winning stage actress who had walked the boards for over twenty years. This little girl honored and adored the actress so much that she stood outside the stage door, night after night after night, just to catch a glimpse of her idol.
One dark and rainy night a friend of the actress saw the girl standing outside the theatre for the umpteenth time and asked the girl to come in and meet the actress whom she revered so highly. After much denial the little girl finally agreed and she meekly followed through the stage door into her dream world.
What follows is a whirlwind tour of her deepest fantasies and desires. Her world is opened up before her, filled with opportunities and the fulfillment of all that she ever wanted; new friends, a new job, an offer to be close to the actress whom she has worshipped.
But at what cost?
If this sounds familiar to you, you are either over 50 years old or a film student.
Try this one on.
A body is discovered floating in the pool of an aged Hollywood (you guessed it) actress. How did it get there? What events led to the poor fellows demise? And most of all, why is he still talking to us in a voice-over?
The answers are slowly peeled away before our eyes in an ever more frightening and almost grotesque story of betrayed friendship, Hollywood glamour and lost loves.
Did you recognize this one? Then you probably remember when seatbelts werent required safety equipment in cars.
For those of you who are dying to find out the answers to the above questions, the first movie is All About Eve, and the second is Sunset Boulevard. A pair of more unexpectedly scary movies you will be hard pressed to find anywhere. I pulled them out again recently and as I watched in fascination I realized to my immense pleasure that they were both horror movies!
Not the contemporary or traditional definitions of horror; no body parts come flying at the screen, no fluids flowing and spurting so that you feel as though you need an umbrella to watch. No, none of that. Just a good, scary story that you dont even realize is scary until it hits you like a truck on an icy bridge about half-way through.
With nine Oscars between them, they were obviously embraced by the audiences of 1950 and that they didnt win more is only due to the fact that they came out the same year.
I will not spoil any more of the plots or give away any more of the scares, but take my word for it and go rent these gems or put them on you queue or find a good used copy to buy. Find out where so many of todays scares came from. Find out why Bette Davis and Gloria Swanson are so iconic. These are their best roles and probably their best movies.
You deserve a good scare tonight.
I was recently afforded the opportunity to attend the premiere of Timewarp Films latest and greatest film, Dead Hunt. This is a rare opportunity indeed, even for one of my stature. You may ask, Grim, how did you get invited to such an auspicious occasion? Let me say simply that I know somebody who knows somebody, and leave it at that. I leapt at the chance.
For those who do not know, Timewarp Films is a small, independent production company that specializes in direct-to-video horror films. The movies are available at Amazon.com, in many rental outlets and even on Netflix. For the budgets involved these gems cant be beat. However, our younger readers will probably want to wait a few years before sampling, since the releases to date are rated R.
The evening began outside the theater with a gathering of a whos who in the cast and crew. Most of the attendees were friends and relatives of those involved, but representatives of the Maryland Film Board, Horrorfind.com and others were also present. I will call them The Throng. I call them this because once everyone entered the building the hall was filled to capacity, all with smiles and loud voices. Anticipation was hanging in the air.
Finally the directors, Joe Ripple and Don Dohler, appeared at the front, introduced themselves and the various dignitaries, and thanked the many others involved for their hard work and participation.
I have to admit that I was getting a little itchy at this point since nobody had yet died. I was beginning to wonder why I had been invited.
My uneasiness was short-lived. The lights were lowered and the movie began. (Disclaimer: I am not allowed to divulge any of the actual story or describe any of the scenes here. Those copyright people are maniacs and even I wont mess with them!) A hush fell over the crowd which was followed almost immediately by screams, groans, yells, yips and cheers. Blood flowed freely. Body parts flew in beautiful arcs across the screen. A plague of frogs, a rain of fire Okay, those last two didnt really happen in the movie, but the surviving audience members happily reported seeing others jumping out of their seats throughout the entire 90 minutes.
captives audience was
released into the evening to discuss their favorite moments. Many
lines from the movie were repeated and scenes dissected over and
over. The cast and crew were available for questions, autographs
and pictures, lots and lots of pictures.
After a second showing of the feature, for those who could not fit into the theater before, with more jumps, shrieks and good times, The Throng dispersed into the night. I think that many had trouble sleeping that night, whether from still being wired after the experience or from the imagery in the movie itself, it doesnt really matter.
If you would like to experience the horror for yourself, you will not have long to wait. Our friends at Horrorfind.com have agreed to show Dead Hunt at their convention this August 11th-13th, at the Hunt Valley Marriot in Baltimore, Maryland. Many of the cast and crew are planning to attend. Though the times are yet to be decided you can bet I will be there to see all the fun and mayhem all over again!
I hope that picture of me with the directors comes out okay.